Shataan belong to the Black Twilght Circle, one of the most important developments in American black metal since the dawn of the ’90s. This elite cadre of bands orbit around the Crepúsculo Negro label – who will release Weigh of the Wolf on cassette this year – and include the potent likes of Volahn, Kallathon, Arizmenda, Dolorvortre, Tukaaria, Kuxan Suum, Blue Hummingbird on the Left, Axeman, Muknal, and The Haunting Presence among many others. The Black Twilight Circle’s vision is an intensely personal and challenging one, and these myriad bands individually and collectively expand this vision whilst keeping it closely guarded, their incestuous nature a matter of aesthetics rather than necessity.
Of them, Shataan arguably drive deepest into their shared Mesoamerican history and culture, and fittingly/provocatively twist these tangled roots into a style of black metal that’s both ancient yet boundless, knowing no time other than the Other-Worldly. Weigh of the Wolf, the trio’s first full-length recording after 2011’s cult War Cry Lament demo and their epic contribution to last year’s landmark Desert Dances and Serpent Sermons compilation, is a spiraling descent (or even ascent) into the hinterlands of the BTC imagination. Foundationally based in the early ’90s black metal wave, Shataan slash and skew that schematic in a manner most individualistic and idiosyncratic, most overtly in their frequent (and poignant) use of flute. These eight songs surge and swerve to a perversely violent brittleness (or brittle violence) that’s tangibly human and emotional but fully possessed and often quite blanching to behold: Shataan lay their souls bare across Weigh of the Wolf, and its combined heft is massive. And yet, despite this reverberating and cyclic motion, the album exhibits nuanced dynamics; rather than rote quiet/loud “dynamics,” the players of Shataan deftly simmer each texture, allowing it to work its magick for the necessary amount of time, before subtly seguing into the next, equally profound passage. In a word, the album is an experience.
Shataan’s Weigh of the Wolf will be released in North America on CD and LP by Indifferent Nightmare, the label of vocalist/guitarist Shataan. In lieu of its international vinyl release today, hear the entirety of Weigh of the Wolf exclusively HERE, courtesy of InvisibleOranges.com. Cover and tracklisting are as follows: